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Bethesda falafel truck shuts down

February 2, 2011 - 03:19 PM
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Food truck
One less food truck in Montgomery County. (Photo: Jay Westcott)

It's a sad day for food truck aficionados hoping for a boom in offerings in Montgomery County now that one of Bethesda's few staples is gone.

The Gazette first reported that Ali Baba's Falafel mobile food vendor license expired Monday and that the county refused to renew it because of a litany of complaints, most notably that the food truck wasn't really mobile at all.

The truck operates and remains on the parking lot of the Montgomery County Women's Co-op on Wisconsin Avenue, and the co-op's vendor manager John Nokthadan tells TBD that the market isn't looking for a new tenant anytime soon.

"We are hoping that they fight and they come back," he says. “We were very pleased with them. We don’t have any problems with them. They were good for the neighborhood because the neighborhood liked the food."

It seems that they are putting up some kind of a fight — Bethesda Patch reports that the trucks' owners have posted a sign in the window urging patrons to contact the county and elected officials to advocate for the truck.

The official line from the county isn't necessarily food truck-unfriendly. And other carts and trucks in Montgomery County operate from stationary points.

Ali Baba Falafel was inspected three times in 2010 and received eight notations of non-compliance. Violations in the reports obtained by TBD include:

-The unit lacking hot water.

-Waste water draining onto the parking lot.

-Cutting board and some other equipment noted as unclean on a particular day.

-The mobile unit not moving from its location at the end of the day.

-The unit using an exterior electrical source.

Do those violations concern you, or would you eat at the truck regardless? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann

    Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann

    Feb 02, 2011 - 09:03:01 PM

    I disagree, Patrick. If it was just a question of a more expensive permit, the County would at least lay out the option. The mobile license carries a different set of requirements, both for receiving the license as well as for operating requirements.

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  2. Patrick Lane Patrick Lane

    Patrick Lane

    Feb 02, 2011 - 06:31:47 PM

    Complete crap. I'm sure all the county wants is more money for a more expensive permit.

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  3. Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann

    Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann

    Feb 02, 2011 - 03:33:47 PM

    Hard to argue with the County's determination that the food truck wasn't actually mobile. It never moved-it stayed in the same parking lot as a permanent fixture. In the linked article, the owners of the falafel truck admit that they have not moved the stand and that it would be difficult to move the stand. What choice is the County left with? It's not a mobile food truck unless it's mobile.

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